Sunday, as we drove to church, I stared out the window of our quiet car, pondering. We had missed the last 3 Sundays of church. (Where most churches notice the rise in attendance for Christmas and Easter services, those are the services our family misses. Not because we don't want to be there but the timing of family gatherings, the picking up of daughter from her mothers home...it always coincides with service times. Each year we discuss "can we do it this year?" and each year we measure the weight of rush and hurry against the effect it has on our heart attitude. Each year we realize that attending out of obligation or fear of being judged 'less than wonderful christians' is not what the Lord wants. So, for the current season in life, these are the few services we miss in the year. We have peace with it, knowing it won't be forever.) Wondering if we'd been missed, wondering what we'd missed, wondering what the new sermon series would offer our family.....would it apply to our season in life? Then, one of those sneaky thought bubbles popped and I realized that it had only been one week since I had been so sick. I turned to my husband, saying in amazement "it was only one week ago that I felt like I was going to die...it seems so long ago!" He responded with an acknowledgement that it had indeed, been a very long week.
It certainly wasn't the week I'd planned. I was geared up for a week of nurturing our home, taking care of rooms and tasks that would dust off the neglect and chaos, renewing the peaceful, soft place to fall and refill at the end of the day. I thought shopping for that "holiday work party outfit" would be easy. Shopping has been transformed in the last few months from being an act of tearful torture to one that I find actually makes me smile....dare I say, actually boosts my confidence? (Who wouldn't smile buying jeans in a size 13 instead of an 18?) But this was so very different. "Dressy clothes" hang differently, hug differently....are frustratingly evil. OR maybe, just maybe, I've gotten to a point where things have gone all uneven again and things are disproportionate. If it fits in the middle it will not, I repeat, WILL NOT, zip, button, clip, sinch, seal or be welded shut at the bust. Which leaves things looking all kinds of not right. I shopped. Every day, I shopped. Friday, the day of the party arrived and still I had nothing purchased. "No Jeans" rattled through my head over and over and daily I sent my husband emails about how I hated those words. I begged and threatened to rebel and wear jeans anyway.....I sighed big dramatic sighs and pouted. He responded with humor and a firm assurance that I was going and I was not wearing jeans. Friday, the day of the party, brought about hours of shopping and only 3 skirts - I hadn't worn a skirt since before we were married....yes, the first skirts in over 13 years were brought into the house. Needless to say, the Mr was beside himself with joy that the gams would be shown off a bit. It worked out in the end....thankfully between Mr and Wonderteen they helped me put something together that was both appropriate and comfortable. I have no desire to shop for "dress clothes" again.
It was interesting though. Something that was expected to be so simple and easy, brought me to tears for the first time in a long time. Shopping had become easier, needing to try on several items to find the right size and fit has become expected and something I have patience for now. Trying on lots of things that ultimately don't work has been normal. But this? This shot me back to a heavier self......one that couldn't shop for things I enjoyed but merely settled for things I didn't hate, things that fit or at least hid the worst parts of me. Things that held no reflection of who I am but merely were the lesser of several evils. I refuse to settle anymore. Sure it's just clothes.....it's the surface....perhaps its shallow or prideful. I acknowledge that but I also acknowledge that I am in pursuit of myself. Slowly digging out who I am today.....saving myself from the fat girl who buried the real me deep within herself. The juxtaposition of iron willed strength and weak-kneed insecurity. Right now, the outside adorning helps the girl on the inside, slowly reveal herself again.
We are not totally different people but the qualities I know she possesses are ones that I miss. Ones I know are there, just below the surface layers and pound by pound we reconnect with each other. Embracing the good, the bad and the ugly in that hug that squeezes silent love into the other, that lingers longer than a greeting and lasts long after you let go.
The journey to lose is much more than a game of subtraction. With each minus there is a plus - added health, added confidence and deeper still.....a meeting with self. Inner battles wage war; temptations and desires against knowledge and will. Mind against flesh. They play out quietly, unseen by the outside world...the tally of wins and losses reported on a scale....like damage reports from the enemy. It's not about beating the scale, it's just a tool helping us in the battle to win back who we are. A person who no longer needs to be uncomfortable in her skin. A person who can feel the freedom to not be aware of their body....the limitations....and feel free to just be.
Blessings of freedom and lingering hugs to you,